?

Log in

No account? Create an account

[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

A caveat regarding this post: This is one aspect about conventions that I've not been involved with until now. Some of promoting and touring can come down to doing a lot of what I've been talking about in other convention posts, like being on panels, and presenting a professional image, but the active promoting of a book? Well, this is where I am learning, just like you are.

With that in mind, let me tell you about some of the things that I have learned. Let's start with promotion. It is GREAT if you can have a giveaway for a convention that will remind people that your book exists, and that they might want to look it up to buy it. I've seen bookmarks, pens, pencils, cards, buttons, all manner of items. The most successful freebies I've received from authors go to Mary Robinette Kowal for her fans with card attached to advertise her historical fantasies, Jim C. Hines for his Jig the Goblin tattoos, and Ann Leckie for her spaceship lanyards. Swag should be cost effective (not too expensive), but memorable. So. I am currently looking into Egyptian swag, as The Vessel of Ra has a definite Egyptian vibe. It would perhaps also be good to go with something alchemical, or shadow-y. Here are some ideas that a casual search of the Internet has yielded.

Egyptian pencils
Team Drusus or Team Khun buttons or lanyards
Egyptian stickers
Egyptian tattoos
Egyptian beaded bookmarks

So, I will let you know whatever little thing I decide on. First, I'm waiting on my cover image, and then I will start planning.

***

Touring. Again, I'm in new territory. I think going to a convention can give you an opportunity to be in an area already, and if you're in a city, you might take some time before, during, or after the convention to visit a bookstore nearby. I will be playing with this as soon as the book comes out. For example, I could be in Minneapolis for a convention, and then make arrangements to have a Thursday night or a Sunday night signing with a local bookshop. Another idea I am playing with for summer of 2018 is a tour to several cities on one of the coasts. As I learn what are good tips to set this up, I will share.

***

Next time, I'll talk about touring. What have I heard about what works best? Stay tuned.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Unreliable Links Through 3-19-17

Hey there! I was doing the spring break thing this week, so I am just a little behind on getting this done. Nevertheless, here are the Unreliable Narrators links for the last two weeks.

Author Spotlight: Kameron Hurley

Blogging 101 with Jim C. Hines

The Year of Living Authorly: Post 5 Conventions--Image

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

As we continue our post on conventions, we would be remiss if we didn't include a budgeting post. And by we, I mean me. Sorry. I've been watching The Crown. But yes, unfortunately, it's not free lots of times when we invest in our writing. The good news is this: If you are a writer, these expenses are tax deductible against your business.

Occasionally, and especially if you become someone who is invited as a guest to a convention, or a speaker, you can get fees eliminated, if not have the whole con paid for. That said, most of the time as a beginning author, you will be paying the bill. It never hurts to ask if you can get assistance. The worst that can happen is someone will say no, and yes, you're used to that!!!

I always think it's worth it to check out the cons near you. You might be able to attend a local con for just the cost of the con. For example, I could attend Icon and commute back and forth from my home. That would mean that the cost of the con and the cost of food would make the con very cheap. I would do that if I weren't hosting a writing workshop, by the way.

So, let me break down a few costs, so you can take a look.

A Nearby Con that you can drive to: I drive to conventions in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Minneapolis, and Chicago, and potentially the range of cons I could drive to include Omaha, Kansas City, and St. Louis. It's vaguely about 50 cents or so for mile traveled in your car for reimbursement. Hotel, food, and the convention membership are the biggest expenses. Depending on the convention and the cost of the hotel, I might pay $500 for a 2-night/3-day inexpensive, nearby convention. I might pay $800 for a 3-night/4-day convention. Usually, this kind of con is a good investment. You can make this kind of con less expensive by staying at a friend's house, or sharing with a roommate, because hotel is usually the biggest expense.

Flying to a convention: The above convention price is pretty much the same, plus an air ticket. I live in Cedar Rapids, so some tickets might be more expensive for me than you, if you were catching a Southwest connection. In general, I pay around $400-$800 a ticket, depending on distance, access, and connections.

Ergo, the average convention will cost me

Transportation: Car or Airfare
Convention Membership
Hotel
Food

and run me about $500 for a very local affair when I stay at home all the up to about $1800 for a convention I fly to for a few days.

Are conventions worth it? Lots of opinions there. I would say yes, because you can introduce yourself in fandom and present yourself well. If you can pair the convention with some book signings, all the better. A little more bang for your buck and stretching of your travel dollar.

Next week: I will talk about conventions and promoting your book! Like I know so much about this...but I'm going to tell you what I've seen and what seems to work for other authors I know. Hint: having a unique give away seems to be key...

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Welcome to the 4th post of the Year of Living Authorly. This is the second post regarding conventions. Previous posts can be found here, and over at Unreliable Narrators. Eventually, I'll get all of these put on a page somewhere, and hopefully they can be of some use.

Last Friday, I burbled on about how much I liked conventions. Conventions are great for authors for a variety of reasons. You can connect with authors, agents, and editors. You can meet like-minded fans. You can create a good impression on people so they might buy your book (alas, the opposite is also true, so be careful out there. One of the ways authors can get involved in conventions is by being on panels.

How hard or easy is it to get on a panel at a convention? You have nothing to lose by visiting the website of a convention you are planning to visit and contacting the programming chair asking you how you can be of service. Usually, being on panels is a volunteer affair, which means you will pay. Occasionally, some cons have invited participants and are willing to waive your fee if you qualify. Those cons generally have instructions on their website and forms you might need to fill out. Remember that cons are often run by volunteers. Some cons will want to include you on programming, and some will be eerily silent. Take it all in stride.

If you've managed to contact programming, and have been assigned to a panel, here are some ideas that might help you.

Usually you're not alone. Usually there's a group of a few people who will speak to the topic with you. If you're very lucky, one of these people will be the moderator, who will control the flow of conversation between and among the panelists and the audience. Sometimes, cons are less formal, and panelists will moderate themselves.

If you can, prepare for the panel in advance. Many cons will give attendees each others email addresses, so people can discuss what individuals might cover. I've been on panels where I've gone in cold, and the panels have worked, but often preparation in advance means you can have handouts, or power points, or thought out conversation. Don't be afraid to be the first person to initiate contact if you need to be.

Many authors on panels will display their books around them like a little fortress. While it might be great to have some of your books for sale, many people feel that's a bit much. I feel that's more appropriate for a signing than a panel. Your mileage may vary. However, don't forget that the panel topic is not your books, even if your books exemplify what's being discussed. You can mention your books, but remember not to be a commercial for your books.

Try to think about speaking up. Don't dominate the panel. Don't be eclipsed. I always try to think that if I am one of a five person panel, I should probably say something about 20 percent of the time. Do your best to be clear while speaking. Always use a mike if you got one. This isn't about how loud you can speak. This is about helping people hear you. And yes, they really can't hear you in the back of the room. Treat your fellow panelists and your audience with respect.

Readings and signings aren't exactly panels, but they too are ways in which you can become more involved in a convention. A reading is exactly the place to generate interest in your work. I'll try to do a post on readings at some point this year. And signings? Well, there's some conventions around that too. But again, see if your con has such events, and ask if you can be involved.

Next up: Image. It isn't everything, but it is important.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Unreliable Links Through 2-17-17

While the rest of the Narrators paint the town red at Boskone this weekend, I'm at home finishing my book, checking papers and prepping a script for a training project. Even my husband is getting out of Dodge and going to visit his mother. I feel like a professor or something.

Anyway, for your enjoyment, what we've been up to at Unreliable Narrators the last couple of weeks.

Author Spotlight: Yoon Ha Lee

Author Spotlight: Stephen Blackmoore

Hitchcock

Unreliable Alumni on the 2016 Locus Recommended Reading List

Productivity at Any Cost?

Mission Accomplished

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

It’s Always Something

I should know about the after intense grief part too, but it often takes me by surprise. So, I will not be writing about going to cons today, although I hope to write about it soon.

After the emotional collapse of grief comes the physical collapse. Bryon had a truly intense cold during the week Mom was dying, which is rare for him. It's not rare for me though, so I was hoping that I would not get it during all the crazy hospital/funeral stuff. And I didn't, because I was running on pure adrenaline or something. On cue though, Thursday, the day after the funeral, bam! So I spent about a week with a really nasty head cold.

Strangely enough it went away quickly, in a matter of a few intense days. Bryon's is still lingering, and we thought that was when fate had cut me a break. We had an excellent weekend and I was beginning to feel better.

Then on Monday...vertigo! I recognized what it was. I've never had it, but Bryon has with an ear infection. Unfortunately, vertigo is also associated with stroke. So, I got an ambulance ride to the local emergency room, where we ruled out heart disease and stroke. I suspect strongly it's an ear infection. Also possibly it could be stress (ya think?) or it could be because I'm in my 50s, and this is one of the things that can happen in your 50s. 🙂

Anyway, two days with instances of vertigo. One day vertigo free. Lots of dizzy time and nausea time, but now I have meds! Yes! Science! And I will see my doctor on Monday to talk about my ears (which kind of hurt, so yes, I think ear infection). I need another vertigo free day before I am willing to drive myself anywhere, so we've been spending a lot of time at the day jobbe.

Good news. I've cleared out a few backlogged projects. Bad news. I haven't been getting writing done. I just haven't had it.

Right now I'm still being gentle with myself. If my body says rest, it will ultimately make sure I listen by pulling a stunt like this. But we're gonna come back, and we're gonna come back big!

Until then, well, we just keep treading water.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Latest Month

March 2017
S M T W T F S
   1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031 

Syndicate

RSS Atom
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Naoto Kishi